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After reading the May '99 article on the tragic death of Harvey Shlasky during the Doublehanded Farallones Race, I felt compelled to write. In 1997, while returning from my two-year cruise to South America aboard my Coronado 34, Blue Cloud, I was pitched overboard.

It happened at 0300 about 100 miles off the northern end of the Gulf of Tehuantepec. Strong winds and big seas necessitated me going forward. As a singlehander, I always wore my SOSpenders self-inflating harness and vest. But when I went overboard that night, my vest did not inflate! It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, however, as it would have been much harder to climb back aboard with an inflated vest.

Blue Cloud was sailing under reduced sail and autopilot at the time, making about six knots on starboard tack. I had been hooked to the starboard side jackline when I got to the bow and was pitched over the port side. Because I had gone over the opposite side from my attachment, I was held close to the boat and high in the water. Even with this good 'bad luck', it was still a chore to get back on the boat.

As the boat rolled in the rough weather, I was able over the period of about three rolls to get a hand, then a foot around a stanchion. I then used the motion of the boat to roll back aboard. Before I departed on my trip, I had planned for such an eventuality and had studied ways to get back on the boat if I went over.

It's my opinion that I wouldn't have been able to climb back aboard had I been wearing all the foulies we use in cold weather, or had I been dragged behind the boat, or had I been in colder water. Further, the circumstances surrounding Shlasky's tragic death prove that even having crew aboard to stop the boat doesn't guarantee survival.

As sailors of the world, racers, or casual day sailors, we all must remember that we are at the mercy of the elements which can change on a moment¹s notice. Hopefully with proper planning, forethought and practice, we can survive.

As for flotation, harnesses and other tools, that is what they are, tools. And tools often fail when you need them the most. We should consider ourselves able to work and survive without tools. It says a lot for our abilities that we do not lose many members of our sailing community.

My sincere condolences to Mr. Shlasky¹s survivors.

John Dunn

Coronado 34, Blue Cloud


In the last issue of Latitude, Boone Camp reported there had been eight cruiser outboards recently stolen in La Paz. I can report that four more were stolen further up the Sea of Cortez at Puerto Escondido. We cruisers in Puerto Escondido now hire a guard to watch the dinghy dock when we have a party or meeting that results in lots of dinghies being there after dark.

What's the reason for the dinghy and outboard thefts in La Paz, Puerto Escondido, and, I'm sure, elsewhere in Mexico? A new law was passed in Mexico that requires the pescadors to have an auxiliary engine on their pangas. The least expensive source of outboards is yachties all of whom have outboards. I don't think the problem is pescadors stealing outboards, but others stealing them and selling them to the pescadors.

Consider yourself having been warned.

Joyce Clinton

Galadriel / Manta

Puerto Escondido, Baja


We're on our way back from Mexico to Vancouver via Hawaii for the second time in the last seven years. We'd like to put in a good word for the folks at the Hawaii YC; they're about the friendliest bunch we've run into.

I had just stuck my nose into the latest Latitude and was reading some of the stories about anchoring when I felt a pressure point develop between my eyes. My beef with a lot of the cruisers is how much rode some of them put out.

For example, we pulled into Isla San Francisco in the Sea of Cortez when there was a strong southwesterly swell and naturally wanted to tuck up into the southern part of the anchorage. Our practice is to approach the boats close to where we plan to anchor and ask approximately where their anchor is and how much rode they have out.

There was one spot that seemed to have been overlooked, and it was nicely protected, so we smiled at our good fortune and proceeded to prepare to anchor. I circled the area, checked depth, and approached the boat that was closest a circumnavigator, I was told later and hailed the skipper. He said that he had 150 feet of rode out and didn't feel there was enough room for us. If he had 150 feet out, he was correct, we wouldn't have room to anchor. But here's the thing: the water was only 11 feet deep!

We encountered a similar situation in nearby San Evaristo when we ran into four (buddy boating) boats that had the southern corner completely locked up with 125 feet of rode in just 10 feet of water. The area should have easily held six or seven boats. I asked one of the group why they had so much chain out in such shallow water. He angrily responded it was because that's what they felt comfortable with.

Normally, we could have cared less, but on both occasions the swell was entering the anchorage and all but the southern half was very rolly. Both these anchorages were well protected from fetch, so even five to one scope was more than enough, and if someone wanted to be really conservative, they could have gone to six or seven to one. But 10 or 12 to one scope simply isn't required and borders on being selfish or, I hope, merely ignorant of proper anchoring technique.

Linda and Bob Cardinal

Cardinal Sin, CS 36

Vancouver, B.C.

Linda & Bob Our feelings on the matter are expressed under the 'Anchoring Etiquette' section of our 'First Timer's Guide to Cruising Mexico' that we pass out to everyone who participates in a Baja Ha-Ha:

"Anchoring etiquette requires that you treat others the way you'd like to be treated you know, the Golden Rule. So unless specifically invited to anchor next to someone, assume that you should give them as much space as possible. And unless an anchorage gets extremely crowded, don't anchor directly upwind of another boat.

"By the same token, if you get to an anchorage first, don't be a hog by putting out 10 to 1 scope. And if an anchorage starts to get crowded, actively try to help newcomers find a good spot rather than pretending they don't exist. It's not only the nice thing to do, but what goes around comes around."

By the way, it's been our experience that cruisers in Mexico like more space between boats than just about anyone else in the world. If someone put out 10 to 1 scope in the Caribbean or the Med, for example, a whole group of boats wouldn't think twice before anchoring right on top of them. The attitude in the rest of the world is: 'Take your pick, either help make room for me or I'll sit on your face.'


I have used Danforths as my primary anchors for over 40 years in the Sea of Cortez, and discovered early on their reluctance to reset after being pulled loose by extreme windshifts. I know that plough or Bruce-type anchors reset more easily after major windshifts, but I like the better holding-power of the Danforth-type anchors and the fact that flat anchors are more compatible with the rest of my anchoring system. (Because I'm not as strong as I was when I was younger, I now use the lighter Fortress anchors rather than the original Danforths.)

To compensate for the tendency of Danforths and Fortresses to get tangled in their rode after severe windshifts, I do, or have done, the following:

1) I always at least when I remember test the anchor each morning in case we did a 360° during the night. If necessary, I reset the anchor.

2) I have retrofitted my Danforths and Fortresses to prevent them from being fouled in their rodes. To accomplish this, I have riveted two stainless rods between the two rear corners of the 'heel plates' so the chain can¹t get caught in that booby trap. And from the ends of the stock, I've run a length of 3/16-inch stainless rod up to the fluke near the tip. These modifications in no way detract from the anchor's ability to set in sand which we normally find on the bottom of the Sea of Cortez and usually prevents the chain from winding around the stock and breaking the anchor loose.

For a lunch hook and for rocky bottoms, I use a Northill. With the stock at the same end as the flukes, it can¹t drop down a crack in the rocks and ratchet itself in for good.

In 40 years of cruising the Sea of Cortez, I've yet to come adrift at night or lose an anchor.

P.S. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone at the Ha-Ha Crew List Party in Alameda in October.

Gerry Cunningham

Patagonia, Arizona

Readers Gerry Cunningham is the author of various cruising guides to the Sea of Cortez.


Earlier in the year reader Ron Landmann wrote in asking if anyone had had any experience with the Barnacle anchor he'd seen while on charter in the Virgin Islands. Having lived in the Virgin Islands for 16 years before moving back to Florida last December, I've had plenty of experience with the Barnacle anchor. In fact, we were so impressed with the anchor that we've gotten involved with the manufacturing and distribution through Barnacles Distributing Inc., which serves the United States, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean. We recently relocated in Florida and are now setting up dealers and distributors in the U.S.

The first Barnacle anchor, designed in 1977, was quite radical. But thanks to the help and feedback of charterboat captains over the years, it was subsequently perfected into an anchor that really works. In fact, many charterboat fleets in the Caribbean now use the Barnacle as both their primary and secondary anchor.

Unfortunately, the Barnacle wasn't really marketed in the United States, so hardly anybody has heard of it in this country. While we have dealers throughout the Caribbean, Europe and Canada, we're just starting our nationwide dealer/distributor network in the United States, but as yet have no dealers on the West Coast. But if Ron Landmann or anyone else would like further information, they could call me toll free at (800) 295-2766.

Capt. Ken Guynes

Barnacle Distributing

Sarasota, Florida


Following their usual pattern of self-congratulation and plotting in secret, the BCDC (Bay Conservation and Development Commission) staff planned an all-day meeting for Thursday, June 10, at the Kaiser Building in Oakland starting at 0830. One of the first items on the agenda was "public input" not that the BCDC makes it easy for the public to know about such meetings. The purpose of the meeting is planning and scheming for the future.

As far as I'm concerned the BCDC is a textbook example of a public agency run amok. It claims jurisdiction over boats and docks as "bay fill" and extorts huge sums of money from private and public users of the Bay¹s waterfronts, waterways and estuaries. The BCDC was originally formed to combat the actual filling of San Francisco Bay. To the credit of its original staff, the BCDC pretty much achieved that goal many years ago. All it needs to fulfill its legal mandate today is a small maintenance staff.

Instead, BCDC¹s gang of like-thinking fellow-travelers continues to expand and demand more power and more taxing authority through 'fees' and 'mitigation' to support its bloated staff. Arrogance is the modus operandi of its staff. Power and control is their goal.

Opponents of this land-grab agency include farmers, waterfront property owners, boaters, and even other public agencies. If you want to see sparks fly, just show up during "public input" time during one of their future meetings. Even if you can only stop in during the day for a few hours or minutes, do so, as the BCDC hates having people there observing their scheming for the future. Thanks to the Brown Act, their meetings are required to be open. Boat owners and property owners need to be there, because precedents set by BCDC could ultimately damage everyone. Reporters and videographers should come away with enough information for a year¹s worth of stories!

Phil Graf

Coast Writers Syndicate

Phil We don't claim to be familiar with everything the regional agency does, but with respect to recreational boats, marinas, and Richardson Bay, the following are the word associations that we make with the BCDC: illegitimate, power-mad, extortion, arrogance, ignorance, ineptitude, corruption, and insider-dealing. Knowing full well that the BCDC has done some good in the Bay and that we share many of the same goals, to our thinking the agency is nonetheless the epitome of bad government.


I¹m another appreciative reader who, even way out in the boonies of western Florida, finds Latitude to be the best single sailing 'read' available. Readers such as myself owe much of this your consistently solid editorial efforts notwithstanding to the Letters and Changes from your readers. So first off, let me thank all your readers for their generous contributions for example, Jim and Sue Corenman, who gave such a great, but simple, summary of Airmail and Sailmail in the May Letters.

To do my bit, let me attempt to answer two recent questions from readers.

To Charlie Furst who, like many of us, has heard glowing testimonials of the anti-seasickness remedy Sturgeron from northern European sailors and wants to try some, I¹d suggest just ordering it from the United Kingdom. The manufacturer of Sturgeron chose not to do the extensive testing required for FDA approval in the United States, but that only prohibits them from selling it in this country. The possession or use of Sturgeron in the United States is not illegal. I¹ve ordered quantities of this anti-motion sickness drug several times from a London apothecary, and the price was quite reasonable. I received it through the U.S. Postal Service, with duty added by U.S. Customs. (If readers aren't familiar with a pharmacy in the United Kingdom, they might try J.M.W. Vicary at Banks Road, Haddenham, Buckinhamsire HP17 8ED).

Sturgeron's active ingredient is cinnarizine, which was originally developed by Janssen to treat Meniere¹s disease. As seems to be the case with all drugs, its effectiveness seems to vary with each person. In any event, our crew has found that Sturgeron induces less drowsiness than Dramamine.

Marvin and Ruth Stark made us all suffer near terminal envy with the account of their buying and then cruising a Catana 44 catamaran from the Med to Antigua. Then they wondered out loud about how hard it was going to be to get the boat back to the Bay Area, what with having to face the 3,245-mile windward slog from Panama up to the Bay Area. We suggest that the Admiralty¹s Ocean Passages of the World provides their answer and, in fact, was the subject of an Ocean Navigator article a few years ago. The article was written by a skipper who was eager to return to San Francisco from the Canal and who followed the recommended track 19 days underway, as I recall, 18 of them with winds abaft the beam. Should we all be so lucky! Or at this time of year in Tampa Bay, should we just have wind!

Jack Tyler

Whoosh, Pearson 424 Ketch

St. Pete, Florida

Jack Thanks for the kind words and you're absolutely correct, without the terrific contributions of our readers, Latitude wouldn't be half the magazine it currently is.

A number of readers have been asking where to get Sturgeron, so your answer is welcome. But are you sure it's legal to have a drug that hasn't been approved by the FDA shipped to someone in the United States? Particularly using the U.S. Postal Service? We don't know, mind you, we just don't want any readers to get into any trouble with the Feds.

We're aware of the 'sailing route' from Balboa to San Francisco and even vaguely recall an article in Ocean Navigator and later in Latitude from a fellow who, if we remember correctly, sailed a Valiant 40 non-stop from Balboa to Seattle. We can't remember how long it took him, but we'd be stunned if it was anything like 19 days to even reach the same latitude as San Francisco. Jimmy Cornell explains why in his World Cruising Routes:

"The trip from Panama to California can be a very long and arduous one. For this reason, it has been suggested that it is easier to sail to Hawaii (4,550 miles) and thence to the West Coast (2,200 miles) rather than direct to California especially for those who like long offshore passages and are not pressed for time.

"A non-stop passage to California should be undertaken well offshore where better winds can be expected even if a longer distance has to be covered. From June to January, after leaving the Gulf of Panama, the route runs between the Galapagos Islands and latitude 5°N as far as meridian 105°W. At about this point, the course is altered to pass west of Clipperton Island. After picking up the northwest trades and if the destination is San Francisco, the route crosses latitude 20ºN in about 120ºW and latitude 35ºN in 135ºW.

"From February to May, the recommended offshore route passes south of the Galapagos Islands after leaving the Gulf of Panama. It then heads west as far as 105ºW before altering course to the northwest into the northeast tradewind zone. However, if winds are favorable after passing Cabo Mala, a route north of the Galapagos Islands can be taken, following a more direct course to California. The initial course on the more direct route runs parallel to the coast of Central America as far as Costa Rica, keeping only about 20 miles off the coast. From northern Costa Rica, the route heads due west for about 1,000 miles to a point just north of Clipperton Island. The route then runs parallel to the coast in a northwesterly direction, gradually curving in toward the port of destination. If taking this route, one must be prepared to motorsail when necessary, especially during the first leg from Panama northwards."

While these 'sailing routes' are no doubt the easiest and perhaps the best way to sail back to California, we believe that few cruisers actually take them because they necessarily involve spending a long time many hundreds of miles from the nearest land or shelter. But we'd sure like to hear from cruisers who have returned from Panama this way.


Your May issue was even more thought-provoking than usual.

The tragic way in which Harvey Shlasky died could have happened to any of us. I started wearing harnesses offshore back in the days when we made them out of three-strand nylon. They were crude, but effective. It's been my observation that when we're in the cockpit, most of us extend the tether to allow easy access to winches, lines, sandwiches, beer, and so forth. This is probably all right on a moderate day when the most likely cause of going overboard is a misstep on the lee rail while taking a pee.

When conditions are rougher, however, it can be dangerous. Anyone who has ever towed a dink knows what happens when the line is not set at the proper length. You put a lot of strain on the tow line, and if conditions are right, you can sink the dink. The obvious answer is to shorten the harness tether when conditions are rough and/or you are sailing shorthanded. Also, clip the boat end of the tether forward of your cockpit position so that if you do go over, you will not be too far down the quarter wave.

To a more pleasant subject: While I pretty much agree with your 'Top Ten Destinations' in Northern California, I feel that they miss a whole category of sailing destinations that are every bit as good and that also provide great opportunities to socialize with other sailors. I'm referring to yacht clubs. With the exception of the St. Francis YC which is a special case most Bay Area yacht clubs provide reciprocal privileges to members of other clubs. A partial list of clubs Benicia, Vallejo, Stockton, Richmond, South Beach, Sausalito, Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz show that they are located at interesting sailing destinations. Many clubs have weekend food and beverage service, and you would easily pay an extra $50 to have dinner in a restaurant with views such as those from the Corinthian, Sausalito, and Golden Gate Yacht Clubs.

For those who are not members of yacht clubs, I ask, why not? Where else will you find so many people with the same interest in sailing? And for all the value they provide sailors, most clubs are inexpensive and many are downright cheap. I've noticed that a number of very fine clubs periodically advertise discount initiation fees, so I suggest those folks looking for additional cruising destinations check these clubs out, talk to members and find out what you've been missing. If Lee Helm can afford to be a yacht club member, so can you.

Jon Nicholas

El Granada

Jon You're correct that yacht club membership offers a gateway to an entirely different set of cruising destinations. Why aren't more people members of yacht clubs? We have two theories: 1) Many folks still perceive yacht clubs as enclaves of snobbery. In 98% of the cases, this is absurd. 2) A lack of time. Modern life puts incredible demands on time, particularly on those who have kids and/or are on a career path or own a business as is the case with many sailors. So when folks like this have a little free time, they'd much rather be on a boat sailing than in a club talking about sailing.


After sailboarding for 15 years now, I had a new experience. I was skipping along in high winds, chop and six-foot swells beneath the Golden Gate Bridge yesterday when a 35-foot female California grey whale playfully started to follow me around. We¹ve had a lot of whales near and in the Bay this year, but I¹ve never had one that 'up-close and personal' before.

Playing tag is one thing, but I was afraid I might run into her and cut her with my fin so I gave her a bit more space than I think she wanted. But the eye contact was something! It was as if we had an understanding of our places in the universe.

I hope the whale didn't feel abandoned when I took off, but I didn't want to injure her. But what an awesome experience!

Ed Oviatt



As you alluded to in your excellent coverage of Antigua Sailing Week '99, trying to find someone in the crowds was next to impossible. But, contrary to your statement that Lee Pryor was the only Bay Area charterer, there was at least one other Bay Area bareboat present  us!

The able crew of Anibal, a Sunsail Beneteau 440, was made up of Stan Phillips (skipper) and Lorraine DeGarmo, Greg and Cathy Sherwood from Oyster Point YC, Gil McCoy from Coyote Point YC, and Sabina Skibbe, also from Oyster Point.

While we didn¹t do as well as we hoped a big DFL in our class we had an outstanding time and have already reserved our boats for next year. Owing to the fact that the Beneteau was an absolute pig going to weather and roller-furling mains suck, we¹re changing boats. Stan and I will each be skippering a Dufour 50.

Antigua Sailing Week really is the sailing event of the year, and all sailors should experience it at least once in their lives.

Greg Sherwood

Imi Loa, Catalina 34

San Francisco

Greg If we were able to only do one regatta in our lives, it would be Antigua Sailing Week, where finishing dead last wouldn't have to interfere with having the sailing time of your life. And isn't that broad reach past Cades Reef on the way to Jolly Harbor about as good as sailing ever gets?


Here's my contribution to your coverage of Antigua Sailing Week: I was a crewmember for Bartz Schneider's Team he's skipper of the Express 37 Expeditious on San Francisco Bay and we finished second in our fleet of 28 bareboats and seventh overall.

I thought you would enjoy the 'new look' we thought about adding to our forestay but decided against it because we might have been protested! And no, I wasn't bare-chested during the races.

Doods Smith

Northern California

Doods Protested for going topless while racing at Antigua Sailing Week? Impossible! Joel Byerly did 29 of the first 30 Antigua Sailing Weeks wearing a G-string and his all-female crews wore nothing more. And he usually won. Sure, it may have been the 20 topless woman aboard Big O during the '96 sailing week that caused a port-tacking Bartz Schneider to come within six inches of ripping the mast out of our ketch, but Antigua skippers aren't supposed to get flustered by crowded starts, mixed fleets, or topless women. Similarly, female crew at Antigua are expected to know enough to keep their nipples from getting overridden in the winches. Next year we'll expect you to help keep the hallowed traditions of Antigua Sailing Week alive!


We've been enjoying the discussion battle of the bug versus bottled water on cruising boats. A simple, inexpensive way to handle the problem an oxymoron on any boat for a pressurized water system, is with in-line water filters available from any home improvement center. The way we did it on our boat was with two filter canisters in-line leading to a small spigot at the galley sink. I put a 5-micron filter in the first cannister, and downstream in the second cannister I installed a .5-micron charcoal filter.

For those who are unfamiliar with metrics, .5 microns is equal to .0000195 inch. This is smaller than giardia and cryptosporidium cysts as well as all the other nasty beasties. The charcoal also removes bad tank or chlorine taste, so for extra protection we chlorinate our water one ounce per 30 gallons. The cost for our system that includes two filters, adapters, lines and a spigot was about $75. Carrying extra filters is much easier, takes less space, is cheaper, and is considerably easier than lugging bottled water.

We've been cruising for about five years and have had no problems with this system. Best of all, our water tastes great! When the flow slows, or after a number of months, we change the filters. Using a 5-micron filter in front greatly increases the life of the .5-micron filter.

Seagull Filters as well as some RV distributors also make charcoal filters with silver iodide to stop the possibility of critter growth inside your final filter. Though more expensive, these will last significantly longer.

P.S. We've enjoyed the laughs, tears and info that Latitude has given us for years.

Ken and Jan Koerwitz

Jazz, Celestial 48

Ken & Jan We were always fuzzy on that filter business thanks so much for the input.


I'm responding to the June letter titled, Why A Ship Is A She. I was taught that ships are referred to ships as 'she' because back in the early days it was considered bad luck to have women aboard ships. Therefore, ships were named after women and referred to as 'she' to demonstrate respect. The captain and crew were then expected to be gentle and treat her as a lady, since their ladies were not with them. This supposedly ensured a safe and bountiful sail, no matter whether fishing, trading, or pirating. This also explains the use of female figureheads.

Steve Malais


Steve The greater question is why it was ever considered bad luck to have women aboard. We've always considered it good luck and more fun.


I had to chuckle to myself over Von Bottoms' threat to boycott all of your advertisers because of his dislike of nudity in Latitude. How do you think Dutch Boy wall paint from Lumber Jack will do on his boat's bottom? I would also expect lots of galvanic action between an aluminum mast and iron fence nails.

My wife of 30 years and I love sailing and Latitude. Both have brought us great pleasure. Please keep up the good work.

Ronald Hatton


Ronald We're so slow it took us a minute to catch your drift. We appreciate your support.


What a surprise it was to read Chesapeake's April '99 Changes and learn that we haven't been the only ones to lose a prop at sea from our Volvo saildrive! You may remember publishing my account in the April '98 Latitude. I was really amazed to continue reading and discover that at least a third boat had the same problem!

When I ordered a replacement prop from Volvo through Downwind Marine, I thought it strange that it was all bronze and had a completely different attachment system. Our original prop was of an aluminum alloy and had been held in place with a nut and cotter pin. When I had Downwind ask Volvo about the difference in props, they were told that only bronze props were available for the 120S saildrive.

I'm beginning to suspect that there was an inherent fault with the previous props and Volvo was trying to sweep the problem under the carpet. Or should I say, drop the evidence in the ocean. I think Volvo owes those of us who have lost props an explanation, and I would like to pursue the matter. As such, if you've had a similar problem, we'd love to hear from you with specifics on your engine, prop and so forth.

Ray and Pauline Taylor

Sundancer II, Pretorien 35

Vancouver, Canada / Sea of Cortez


Two things.

1) We're taking our boat up the Delta next month. I thought I saved your Delta article from last year, but alas, it must have come out in the April '98 edition the only one I still don't have. Can I get a copy?

2) We'd like to bareboat charter a catamaran for a corporate charter. The only cat for bareboat charter I know in the 40-foot range is at Club Nautique, and currently she's dismasted. Can you suggest another source in the Bay Area?

Gary Scheier


San Rafael

Gary Last year's Delta article appeared in the July issue. You can get a copy by sending $7 to 'Back Issues', Latitude 38, 15 Locust, Mill Valley, CA 94941. But hey, there's a brand new Delta article in this issue.

To the best of our knowledge, Club Nautique's PDQ cat has been the only bareboat cat available on the Bay. They tell us she's been about the most active boat in the fleet for the last 18 months, but alas, her mast did come down and she's currently out of action.


We¹re in Croatia for a second summer, a cruising area that we enjoy almost as much as Malaysia and Thailand though a bit tamer. After two rainy winters in Turkey, we plan on wintering in Tunisia but are also tempted by Venice. After 12 years of cruising, we find that it's as enjoyable but no easier than ever.

A friend in California e-mailed a copy of Pete Kantor¹s letter requesting information on our steering problems during the Queen's Birthday Storm. The editor's reprint of the pertinent parts of our January '95 Changes covers all the basics. Rather than bore your general readership, Sig has just e-mailed a complete description of the cable-and-quadrant system he installed in Brisbane in early ¹95 to the Rhodes Reliant/Offshore 40 website. Anyone interested can find it at: http://nimbus.tem-ple.edu/~bstavis/reliant.htm. Ben Stavis has set up a nice website with lots of photos and information on the boats, maintenance and upgrades. The website is so good it should be of interest to any owner of an older glass boat.

We can¹t comment on the original Cheoy Lee cable-and-quadrant steering system, as it was long gone when we bought Mary T. But regarding our rudder, we damaged it in '92 when we backed off a coral head in Papeete. We then spent a week in Ellacott¹s Boatyard installing a new stern tube and rudder tube, and getting the rudder re-glassed. When we stripped the glass off the foam sandwich rudder, we found the jerky rudder post and struts in excellent condition. The glass work was so good that we should have just puttied it up instead of redoing it. Latitude's editor is right that it's wise to examine old stainless carefully, but we were pleased with what we found.

Carol Baardsen

Mary T., Offshore 40

Croatia / San Pedro

Carol Due to circumstances beyond our control incurable wanderlust we found ourselves flying from Berlin to Rome last month. The flight took us over Krk and other Croatian Islands, and we couldn't believe how perfectly beautiful the region looked for cruising. If we'd had a parachute, we might have jumped. We'd be delighted to hear about the area in more detail, as it's certainly going on our list of places we want to cruise.


Greetings from your rain-soaked friends north of Seattle on Whidbey Island. My wife and I have sailed a Gemini catamaran for the past five years and dream of warmer, drier places. We love your magazine, and anything about Mexico gets us excited so we thought doing the Baja Ha-Ha would be fun. We'd like to crew on a multihull and wonder if there is anyway you could assist us.

Rob and Linda Jones

Whidbey Island

Rob and Linda We've two suggestions: 1) Run an ad in the Classy Classifieds, or 2) Come to the Mexico Kick-Off, Ha-Ha Crew List and Reunion Party at the Encinal YC in Alameda on October 5th at 1800. And if you really want to get into the thick of things, we're still accepting applications from people interested in a charter spot aboard our catamaran Profligate for the Ha-Ha. If interested, send a postcard with your name and address to Profligate, 15 Locust, Mill Valley CA 94941. And we'll get a mailer back to you.


I read the sad letter from Von Bottoms and thought you gave a patient and thorough answer. Anyone who would discard the magazine because of a bare breast has some serious problems. But the veiled threat about advertisers was disturbing.

For the record, I've read the magazine for 20+ years, and actively support your advertisers. I¹ve also bought and sold boats using your Classy Classifieds. My wife and I both thought the photo of the topless woman with the helmet was hilarious. Admittedly, I¹ve only been married 30 years to Von's 31 so maybe next year I¹ll want to ban bare-breasted beauties. But I doubt it. And if I see something I don¹t care for, I can always turn the page.

We need to appreciate beauty wherever we find it, and we need more tolerance, too.

Ed Witt

Schooner Regulus



I thought I¹d pass along a big pat on the back to the people of Recovery Engineering who make the PowerSurvivor 35. They've gotten some bad press over the years, but I think they're going the extra mile to make things right again.

My nine-year-old PowerSurvivior 35 had been in service for 1,145 hours, making good water from the cool seawater of Ketchikan, Alaska, to the warm and silty Sea of Cortez. It's not a unit to be used and forgotten, and I've always given it good maintenance.

When the collar that attaches the membrane housing to the pump assembly broke, I phoned the company via cell phone to get the part number and ordering information. After explaining the situation, they said they would ship out a part at no charge. Shipping to Mexico can be something of a challenge, so imagine my surprise when the part arrived via DHL in only three days at no cost. Good on you guys at Recovery Engineering!

Bob Dunakey


La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico


Can Latitude handle jpeg or gif photos via e-mail? We are thinking of using our digital camera to record our next cruising adventures, beginning with the Millennium Ha Ha. Just wondering if we could send stuff in for Changes in Latitude via e-mail with attachments.

Anne Kelty


Alameda, CA

Anne Although we prefer the TIFF format, we can convert GIFs or JPEGs.

The most important issue with digital photos, however, is resolution. In order to give us full flexibility in the use of photos meaning we can enlarge, crop, or use them for spreads they must be taken with high or super high resolution cameras. The photos from 'toy' digital cameras will be worthless, and even photos from $500 digital cameras may have only limited value if taken at low resolution.

For instance, check out the above digital shots we got from Chuck Snyder and Jill McCready, who met through Latitude and subsequently took off for the South Pacific aboard their Cal 40 Ariel. While the photos themselves are great and look decent enough in small sizes, when enlarged for normal use in Changes, they became a worthless collection of jaggies. As such, we haven't been able to run the photos or the Changes. It drives us nuts!

In any event, if you're scanning your photographs or running them through a photo manipulation program, such as Photoshop: 1) Do it in 'gray scale' to keep the file small. 2) If possible, save it as a TIFF as opposed to a GIF or JPEG. And 3) Save it as 300 to 500 d.p.i. If the resolution or d.p.i. is too low, we'll only be able to use the photos very small or not at all.


I¹m responding to Von Bottoms' objections to pictures of bare bodies in Latitude. I think very few Latitude readers male or female agree with his complaints.

It's true that some of the photographs in Latitude seem to be flaunting it a bit but so what? Nude pictures need not be sexual, and the ones in Latitude haven't been. They're pictures of people having fun. I've never seen a picture in Latitude that I felt was unsuitable for anyone including children to see.

I agree that nudity is not appropriate in many situations, but boating on a warm day is not one of them. Some discretion should, of course, be exercised to protect the inhibited. And if nudity is appropriate in the Sistine Chapel, then it's all right on my boat, too.

And I don't think the editors of Latitude should apologize for the size of the photo in question. After all, it doesn't set the mood for the entire magazine. The young lady in the photo would be welcome on my boat dressed as she was depicted and my wife of 33 years wouldn't object, not even if my four-year old grandson was there.

Nudity is a special freedom that many boaters enjoy. No one need be offended, and besides, it even gives us a chance to laugh at ourselves.

Matt Johnston

Elsewhere, Cabo Rico 38


Matt We appreciate your coming to our defense. While we're not apologizing for the photo that we published, we nonetheless still feel it was run disproportionately large. By the way, everybody keeps talking about "nude" pictures. We don't ever remember publishing a nude shot and can't imagine that anyone's genitals would ever find their way onto our pages.


Earlier this year we visited Havana, having flown Air Cuba over from Nassau. Naturally, we checked out the Hemingway Marina and Club Nautico¹s International Hemingway La Havana. When we dropped off copies of Latitude, the bar manager fondly remembered the visit of Big 0, her captain, and her wild and crazy crew. Commodore Jose Escrich, unfortunately, was out of town.

The Hemingway Marina layout is somewhat unique in that there are four dead-end canals with only side-ties. There are no slips, piers, pilings or gangways. The marina was about 25% occupied during our visit; about half the boats were from Europe and the other half from America.

Their marina has two restaurant-bars, plus a yacht club, showers, and a well-stocked mini-super market. A new luxury hotel, The Old Man And The Sea, recently opened up next to the marina. A metered taxi ride to downtown Havana is $10 each way.

Although enthusiastic sailors, we journeyed to Cuba as part of Moose¹s San Francisco restaurant slow-pitch softball team. We split a double-header with the Cuban team. The singer Harry Belafonte, who was vacationing nearby, unexpectedly showed up and we successfully recruited him to pinch hit. He was a little rusty at the plate, however, and after the fifth strike was reluctantly called out by the umpire. Belafonte joined both teams for post game beers at a local cantina. He was gracious and charming and gave us an abbreviated rendition of Day-o, the song he made famous.

It's not legal for Americans to pay to travel to Cuba, but our group qualified as an authorized U.S. State Department cultural group. We have an official 'letter of transit' from the State Department now framed and mounted. Nonetheless, many Americans unofficially visit Cuba via Mexico or Nassau, and the Cubans do their part by not stamping their passports. When you return to the U. S. and fill out your Customs card, forget that you visited Cuba.

Cuba is a real bargain, and U.S. dollars are the only currency Americans are allowed to use. A beer is about 75¢. The Cubans are warm and friendly and like Americans so you don't feel uncomfortable visiting. Our highlights included Old Havana, which is like Madrid 150 years ago; pre-1959 cars; bands and music everywhere, from three-stool cantinas and lunch counters to night clubs; and Hemingway¹s house in the hills outside Havana.

We got the impression that the Castro regime was loosening up, but upon our return to the States, we heard that three dissidents ended up getting long jail terms. Cuba is currently unspoiled, undeveloped and, unfortunately for the wonderful Cuban people, poor. We recommend readers see Cuba now before Fidel, aged 72, passes from the scene and the embargo is lifted.

Dennis and Barbara Kavanagh

Mill Valley

Dennis & Barbara We agree that now is the time to see Cuba, a really terrific place for an adventure. For more on sailing to that fascinating island, see this month's article on the Havana Cup race/rally from Florida to Havana.

To show you how hospitable the Cubans try to be, that bar manager who said he remembered the visit of Big O was just trying to be nice. While we covered 400 miles of the northeast coast of Cuba during our visit a few years ago, neither Big O nor her wild and crazy crew visited Hemingway Marina. Only the Wanderer and Dona de Mallorca got that far, where we were graciously welcomed by Commodore Escrich and his staff.


Is there a local web site with San Francisco Bay tides for the year 2000 and beyond? I think someone mentioned such a site last year.

P.S. We're having a great season in Alaska now, but will be back in the Bay Area in October.

P.P.S. Thanks for all your hard work and good humor in putting out such a wonderful, readable, enjoyable magazine each month.

Ronn Patterson

Dolphin Charters

Ronn No problem on those tides through 2025. Just go to the Latitude website at: www.latitude38.com; go to links; and click on 'U.S. West Coast Tide Information'.


Enough of 'infernal consumption' engines for small sailboats! They gobbled up my time in replacing things like fuel pumps, zincs, electrical systems components, and required frequent oil changes and 'nursery time' to run the engine each week. And I still have scars on my hands and arms from reaching into tight crannies where one can¹t see much less work.

On San Francisco Bay, where we have lots of wind, all we need is power to get in and out of the marina. After that, the sails can do all the work.

This year electric motors were increased to 70 pounds thrust each, so two transom-mounted electrics of 140 pound thrust adequately move my Ericson 27 and silently. With four marine deep-cycle batteries, I can have four hours at cruising speed. Total weight of this installation is about half that of the gas engine I removed.

Best of all, there are no gas fumes in the boat to explode and no smelly oil in the bilge.

Sam and Maralene Fogleman


Foster City

Sam & Maralene That sounds really terrific! But we must say that the resident 'motorhead' is somewhat skeptical about your claim of four hours at cruising speed. Are you sure you can get that much power and for that long?


I¹m responding to the person who inquired about the best time to head south from the Pacific Northwest to hopefully avoid bad weather. After 22 round-trips from the Columbia River to Puget Sound, and several trips to San Francisco and also to Alaska, I¹d say there is no perfect time to be off the coast of the Northwest. However, I've never been out before April or after October and don't think I'd be so inclined.

These transits are usually uncomfortable and awful weather can come from the north or the south. Five of my trips involved sustained winds over 40 knots and lasted from between 10 and 40 hours. Two of these blows weren't predicted. The others weren't predicted far enough in advance to take cover of which there isn't much along that coast anyway.

I'm sure predicting the weather from Northern California to Seattle is difficult, and the folks work hard around the clock to do their best. Nevertheless, at times it can be frustrating. Picture a man standing in the cockpit bracing himself with the mainsheet, shaking his fist to those on shore, straining to scream above the wind: "Look out the fucking window!"

So, it's the third of June, another sleepy dusty delta day somewhere, but here in Port Angeles it's blowing 30 knots down the Straits of Juan de Fuca and I guess more wind is predicted for tomorrow. Besides simply waiting out bad weather, we do all the usual stuff, step our masts on a coin, never leave on a Friday, and so forth. But most importantly, the 'no speak' rule is in effect. "If it's bad, it¹ll happen; if it's good, it¹ll go away."

I would say that September is my favorite month to be off the northern coasts, as you can troll a salmon fly silver body with white/red or white/green. Leave it 100 feet aft, just a swivel and no weight.

By the way, I'm back home now, and it seems that there have been some significant changes in the way NOAA weather radio presents the offshore weather. They were spot-on, right down to the hour. It's enough to give a mariner some guarded encouragement.

P.S. Latitude is the best, so I read it cover to cover. Never change your ways!

Mike Quigley

Envoy, Santana 35



This is the story of how the Offshore 40 Calypso came into our lives.

While in the middle of a nasty divorce, when I was often in tears at work, Charlie stopped by one day to discuss something with my boss. After their luncheon, Charlie ignored my tears and stopped by my desk to ask if I'd like to go sailing. He specified time, date, and place. In his usual gruff manner, he told me to be there on time or get left behind. I had never sailed before.

I was on time and Calypso and her crew were ready to race. At the end of the day, when we pegged the knotmeter coming back under the Golden Gate bridge, the crew was tense and I became happily addicted. From then on, anytime Charlie asked, I went sailing. During these sails I met Charlie's close friend Jean. Together they sailed the sadness out of my life. I also learned how to tack the jib.

Then I met Scott, who was to become my husband. I introduced Scott to Charlie, who was then 74, and to Jean. Scott had never sailed before, but Charlie and Jean liked him. And Scott loved sailing. Before long he became a driver on all points of sail.

When Charlie left on vacations, he insisted we take Calypso out sailing ourselves. He told us he hated seeing the grass grow on boats because they didn't get used. Not on Calypso! He always left us a letter aboard that gave us permission to use the boat. But still, how were we supposed to get the big boat back into the tiny slip? When did we have the right of way over other boats? What did all the different lines do?

We read Latitudes from front to back, including all the ads, to pick up the lingo. We read books about sailing and took courses. And we still had a heck of a time getting that huge boat into that really tiny slip at the end of a day. But we sure learned a lot!

After returning from vacation one day, Charlie left a message on our answering machine. He told us he was selling the boat and wanted to know if we wanted to buy it. The following week we scoured Latitude trying to determine a fair price for a 40-foot sailboat although we didn't know a sailing Chevy from a sailing Porsche. And we bought Calypso!

Charlie had told us he always wanted to cruise, but had raised a family instead. So I guess he was kind of living his dream through us. He helped us finance the purchase, bought half of the new rigging, gave us a liferaft, and every once in a while would secretly drop off boxes of valuable spare parts and how-to and cruising books.

We sailed Calypso on the Bay for years. Then, while in a boatyard one day, someone told us a boat like ours was built to sail around the world. Hmmmmmmmm.

We started cruising four years ago. We recently learned that Charlie Hendrickson passed away earlier this year at age 85 but not before he'd given a hand up to a couple who wanted to do what he'd always dreamed of doing. While cruising, we sent Charlie postcards galore. And when we flew home, we regaled him with our cruising tales, both good and sometimes bad. He always had a great ear for listening and offered sage advice.

Charlie could be gruff and short on words in the New England style, but we loved him dearly! He won't be there when we return home to visit, but he's with us now wherever we cruise. And he always was.

Scott and Sonia Yates

Calypso, 1965 Cheoy Lee Offshore 40 yawl

San Francisco / Currently in Costa Rica


I'm responding to the letter titled: Abysmal Response, Let It Burn, Baby, Burn, by Henry Laney which appeared in the June issue of Latitude. In that letter, Laney criticized the actions taken by the Fireboat Sea Wolf during a recent fire at the Embarcadero Cove Marina.

Mr. Laney¹s article describing the actions taken by the Sea Wolf and her crew contains many errors and misinterpretations. As a member of the Sea Wolf crew, I feel a need to set the record straight.

1) The article states, "Runaway fire involving multiple boats." Only two boats were involved. "Within minutes both boats were completely ablaze and spreading to nearby boats." The two boats were ablaze, however fire attack by our engine companies on scene in three minutes from the landside stopped the fire from spreading and no other boats were involved.

2) "The Sea Wolf arrived half an hour later." Obviously our critic feels the fireboat was slow to respond. The fireboat arrived in 17 minutes from time of dispatch. Considering the fireboat size (65') and potential wake damage to others at top speed, the marine pilot set a safe and reasonable speed for the approximate two-mile run to the fire scene.

3) "When the Sea Wolf arrived, she positioned her stern some 30 yards upwind and did nothing for 10 minutes." The Oakland Fire Department uses the Incident Command System to bring a controlled orderly response to the chaos created by fires. When the Sea Wolf arrived she was ordered by the Incident Commander to stand off until his land crews had completed their assigned task, which was to get charged lines between the burning boats and those not involved. The Sea Wolf was then ordered to move in and cautiously lay water on the fire.

4) "A rush to the stern nozzles, the firefighters finally got them going and extinguished the fire in about five minutes." The Sea Wolf's powerful rear turrets were never used, only the single bow turret sparingly and handlines.

I could continue to address each and every one of Mr. Laney¹s critical statements, but his main point was that the fire wasn¹t put out quickly enough. Yes, we could have backed out our land crews, unleashed the two rear turrets for about 90 seconds and made very short work of this fire. In those 90 seconds the Sea Wolf would have lobbed 36 tons of water into those boats and quickly sent them both to the bottom. Had we taken the easy way out, then I assume we would be the efficient heroes our critic was expecting. In our business it would be considered very incompetent to create a costly salvage bill for the owners to raise the boats, pollute the estuary and disrupt the marina for days.

As firefighters we know first hand the terrible stress Mr. Laney and other marina residents experienced the day of the fire. When you need help nothing happens quickly enough, and minutes feel like hours. Firefighters are not perfect, but the only mistake made at this fire was our critic's interpretation of procedure he knows little about.

Michael Cline

Marine Engineer



In the early 1980s, I purchased Abitare, a used Dufour 35 in Chicago. When I moved to San Francisco in '85, I brought the boat with me, but I sold her in '87. I'm interested in repurchasing the vessel, but don¹t know of her whereabouts or current owner.

If any Latitude readers know the whereabouts of Abitare, please contact me at (415) 389-7300.

Jan Blakslee

Mill Valley


Your June issue featured a letter from Scott Taylor of San Rafael about the Pacific InterClub Yachting Association's Opening Day event. We were sorry to read his critical comments on our 83-year-old event but thankful for the editor¹s comment on the difficulty of trying to manage such an undertaking.

Taylor referred to the "rag-tag parade". Our article in the Log was entitled 1999 Opening Day on the Bay A Huge Success. Some people see some glasses of water as half full, others see them as half empty. And observers see things from a different viewpoint than sponsoring participants. For thousands of Bay Area folks, Opening Day was a big and happy celebration. Major activities ranged from club events, to the Corinthian YC's blessing of the fleet, to the PICYA¹s parade on the Cityfront.

There were more than 100 decorated boats in the parade celebrating the Gold Rush theme of the California Sesquicentennial, and there were 70 people on the committee boat at Gas House Cove including the parade judges. Over 25 boats from Power Squadron 25 provided on-the-water-control. And no less than 40 people were on the PICYA committee for the event.

Opening Day is a positive, happy day and we think most participants had a lot of fun. On more serious days, the PICYA conducts safety programs and a Wheel Chair Regatta for the disabled. On recreational days, we promote boating and regattas such as the Lipton Series and CHISPA Youth Regatta. We have a great program underway for 1999 and will repeat it in 2000.

We encourage everyone to join us, and would particularly like to encourage Mr. Taylor to join us as an advisory member.

Russell E. Wallace

Mill Valley

Readers As we stated last month, our deadlines have prevented us from participating in Opening Day activities for many years. But for what it's worth, we bumped into Dan Carrico on the other side of the world last month, and he and his wife went on and on about how much fun they and their crew had had participating in and winning the Opening Day decorated boat parade. So there are certainly those who see the glass as half full.


I am writing to thank you for the excellent article in your last issue of Latitude about the O¹Neill Sea Odyssey program. You spent a great deal of time on board our catamaran as she sailed Monterey Bay, watching the kids learn, and talking to our dedicated crew and skipper. We thoroughly enjoy educating young people about the living ecosystem of Monterey Bay, and the great work done by your magazine helps get our message out. Thanks again for your great promotion of O¹Neill Sea Odyssey, of ocean issues, and for your dedication to our next generation of leaders!

Jack O¹Neill, Chair

O'Neill Sea Odyssey

Santa Cruz

Jack You've set down great footsteps in which to follow. In the early '60s, we visited your surf shop on 41st Avenue to buy a wetsuit as well as a surfboard blank, cloth and resin and created an orange monster that we used with some regularity and great pleasure at places like Cowells, The Hook and Sewer Mouth. They were easily some of the best days of our lives. Now that we also have a large cat, we look forward to following in your footsteps again by using her tremendous passenger-carrying capacity for, among other things, educational purposes. We salute your vision.


I¹ve read your magazine for many years, but was very surprised by the article claiming Pier 39 as the top attraction for boaters in the Bay Area. It's true, the location of Pier 39 is great, but I doubt the boating community goes there for Pier 39, the biggest tourist trap on the West Coast. One visit to that huge concrete offense, Underwater World, will give you an idea of what an embarrassment Pier 39 is.

Yes, the tourists come and go leaving their money and their hearts in San Francisco, but I believe it is your publication¹s responsibility to the boating community not to get caught up in the same rage that draws out-of-towners with cameras and visitor maps. The last few times my boat and I spent the night in the Pier 39 marina, I was reminded that Pier 39 isn¹t concerned about the mariner. The docks are in deplorable condition, and the monstrous, super surge that kept me and my ship rocking and rolling was worse than being at anchor.

Latitude, you really missed the mark on that article.

Joseph W. Contaro

Half Moon Bay

Joseph You need to read what we write a little more carefully. We never made the claim that Pier 39 was the "top attraction for boaters in the Bay Area", but rather that it, "ranks among the top stops with out-of-town guests who want to do the 'tourist thing'." Just a bit of difference, wouldn't you agree?

Thanks to the powerful surge, the docks at Pier 39 aren't in the best condition and probably never will be for very long. So mariners should either accept it as a marvelous example of man's inability to control nature or go elsewhere.

Personally speaking, if we wanted to take out-of-town guests who are ga-ga about the city to San Francisco, we'd take them to Pier 39 and put up with the surge and docks because the location is killer. If it was just us and a few local friends, we'd go for South Beach Marina, which doesn't have at least yet quite as dramatic a location, but is much calmer, quieter, and in a more sophisticated area. It's nice having a choice, isn't it?


I recently used a phosphoric acid-based combination teak cleaner and brightener on the handrails of my 1982 Cal 31. I followed the directions on the label, which carried absolutely no warning about the product¹s potential to damage the gelcoat.

During the cleaning and rinsing process, the product splashed onto the deck. But I had no reason to believe it would cause any damage, as there was no warning on the label. After cleaning and rinsing, I subsequently discovered that the product had caused extensive discoloration to the deck and bleached streaks down the hullsides. I tried in vain to remove the stains by scrubbing the areas with boat soap and water. The damage is permanent and my boat is covered in unsightly stains.

I would be interested to know whether any of your readers have experienced a similar problem, as I feel it would be mutually beneficial to discuss it with them. I can be contacted at (619) 223-8352.

Vernon Jacobs

San Diego

Vernon We don't know what to tell you, other than that we always used phosphoric acid to clean the teak decks on Big O. And did it ever get them bright! But then we were careful to wash the acid off almost right away for the reasons you describe. Nonetheless, it seems to us that some kind of warning on the label would be in order.


Just before we cast off the docklines to continue south, the June issue arrived here in Channel Islands Harbor. I was surprised to see my letter which you had already published in the April issue once again in print. My immediate thought was that there had been an editorial snafu.

However, on reading your response, I realized that you were approaching the monohull versus multihull controversy from a different angle. I have found over the years that most sailors are genuinely interested in the pros and cons of multihulls, and welcome an informed and knowledgeable discussion. There are a few sailors whose knee-jerk reaction is to go on the offensive about how unsafe they are, say they all capsize, and all that. I have found that the best response to these ignorant and prejudiced people is to politely ask how much actual offshore experience they have in the vessels they are apparently so knowledgable about. The answer is always, "None."

I certainly respect the opinions of Monsieur Fauconnier a notable multihull sailor who is looking for an Ocean 71 monohull to take folks to the high latitudes especially as I followed his multihull exploits during the '80s. He is absolutely right no vessel is perfect for all conditions everywhere in the world. Monos and multis each possess positive and negative aspects, and it is up to each sailor to decide for himself which vessel he/she would be more comfortable with.

I got goosebumps and a tear in my eye as a result of your publishing the recent photo of Ocean Free. After 24 years I had lost touch and didn't even know if she was still sailing. Thanks very much.

We are moving further south for a few months don¹t know where, but that¹s what cruising is all about. We¹ll try to get through the Canal before the end of the year, but hope to see you somewhere in Mexico.

Capt. Jonathan and Joell White

Catfisher 32, JoJo

Heading south

Jonathan & Joell It was indeed a snafu which resulted in your letter running twice. By the way, another of Fauconnier's considerations was price: A 30-year-old Ocean 71 is much less expensive than a relatively new multihull.


My husband Alan and I spent more than four months sailing down the coast of Baja before crossing to Puerto Vallarta. Our CQR anchors 45 and 35 pounds were our primary anchors and did well in all spots except one. To this day, I get chills up my spine at the mention of Cedros Island.

We'd pulled into the harbor at Cedros along with our friends Anne and Rene Stolp aboard Altea. We anchored in the shallow harbor and rowed ashore to do some light provisioning. I'll never forget the little Mexican boy who shouted "Green sailboat on the rocks!" in Spanish while we were in the tienda. We sprinted toward our boats with half the townspeople and all the dogs joining in the race. Sure enough, Mariah¹s anchor had fouled but she wasn't on the rocks. Thankfully, Paul Bellia aboard Sunrunner had had the presence of mind to hop aboard and, with the help of a local fisherman, was re-anchoring as we arrived. George Reynolds, the 'tree doctor', had also been a big help in calling attention to our runaway Freedom 40.

The only good result is that we made some good friends that day. But while these folks were visiting in our cockpit, we watched as the locals dumped a refrigerator into the harbor. Apparently, the harbor has been used as a garbage dump for some time. Twice more that day our anchor fouled and we had to reset it. The first time it fouled on a metal drum, the second time on miscellaneous garbage and rags!

We knew there was a small weather system moving through, so we tried to make sure we had a good grip on the bottom. We finally thought we had it but we didn't. So, in the dark of night with 20-knot winds and five foot seas outside, we hurriedly left Cedros Harbor with me on the foredeck with the spotlight picking a path through the other boats. Fortunately, we found a calm anchorage on the southern end of the island, but I was too rattled to sleep and stayed awake all night on anchor watch.

Hello to everyone who remembers us and our beautiful Mariah now for sale. We can be contacted at: abthomas@unidial.com.

P.S. We loved Mexico! If you're headed that way later this year, you will, too!

Brenda Thomas

Sedro-Woolley, WA


I'm protesting that Latitude used my thoughts or comments in the Spring Storm article without talking to me. You never contacted me and you never interviewed me, but you used my name and supposedly my thoughts. And what you wrote was wrong.

Peli-Wash is the pet project of Dennis Flynn, nephew of Russell Flynn of Flynn Investments, which owns Pelican Yacht Harbor. It only had permits to wash boats. After just a month, it was evident that it was impossible for Peli-Wash to make enough money just washing boats. It was also evident that the catchment system did not work and was not utilized. As major boat work grinding, fiberglassing, paint removing was begun to generate revenue, all of the residue went directly into the Bay. When the residents complained, the harbormaster shrugged and basically said, "If you don't like it, move. Besides, it's illegal to live on your boat, so you'd better keep quiet."

There was no excuse for the owners to pollute the Bay so blatantly for three years. Bay Keeper and a whole alphabet soup of agencies didn't approve of the facility. The City of Sausalito issued a cease & desist order for permit violations in the spring of '99 and shut Peli-Wash down. Peli-Wash violated that order over and over. The city told them to stop, but the Peli-Wash manager hauled his boat anyway. The city told them to stop, stop, stop! This is the management which blames the complaints of its residents for all of its problems.

If there is any question about the character of the management of this company, here's another example. The company allowed its 130-foot long concrete covered breakwater to sink after Marciante took over three years ago. It now sits on the bottom of Richardson Bay. The breakwater was replaced with plastic tubes and tires which explode at every blow, littering the bay with tires. There is no BCDC permit for the tires.

You article stated that "Flynn Investments of San Francisco is moving forward with plans for a multimillion dollar upgrade." To think that Flynn Investments would want the marina¹s long time and new liveaboards to be renters in the upgraded marina is ludicrous. After all, they¹re illegal. Evidently, the company has been planning to evict these liveaboards anyway but not before milking every possible penny out of them to pay for the upgrade. Remember, these residents are all desperate to keep their homes, and the company has been taking advantage of the situation.

The facts tell the story. As a harbor residence, Pelican has always been a place where people could surreptitiously live on their boats if they kept a low profile. Marciante filled the harbor with practically nothing but liveaboards to maximize Flynn¹s profits. He ditched the low-profile policy. Satellite dishes, dogs, cats, flowerpots, tool boxes and unpowered vessels all flourished under Marciante.

The price for a slip at Pelican has always been quite a bit higher than any other harbor in the bay. In '92, it was $10.16/foot. The reason it was higher was that there was an unspoken agreement. "You pay a lot, but the owners look the other way." A comparable slip in Sausalito was $250 a month, which is $7.81/foot. Pelican charged high rents even though there is no oil dump or sewage pump-out, the power supply is not reliable, and the circuit breakers pop regularly due to wires in the water.

When Peli-Wash started losing money, the berth fees were increased to $11.72/foot. When residents complained, Marciante shrugged and claimed that the increase had nothing to do with Peli-Wash. He insisted that Peli-Wash wasn't part of Pelican Yacht Harbor.

Last winter, there was a rent increase of $100 a month for liveaboards only, which meant $14.85/foot not including dock box rent and metered power. That people were willing to pay this was evidence of their desperation. But people started complaining.

Marciante told me the Flynns wanted to drive the 'trailer trash' liveaboards out. Several boats left, but Marciante filled the slips with more liveaboards.

Despite assessing a rent increase for just those who lived aboard, Pelican refused to legitimize their status. When inevitable conflicts occurred due to the density of residents, Maricante cut verbal sweetheart deals with some. This fostered a feeling among residents that they were legitimate and they acted that way.

Mr. Nash, the man who complained, notified management about the Peli-Wash pollution months prior. Years prior! Their inaction forced him to report to the authorities.

All of this points to a management which is teasing people along until it inevitably was going to evict them at the company¹s convenience. To cite a couple of people's complaints as the reason for Flynn Investments actions is scapegoating.

As to my alleged part in this whole thing, I attended a Richardson Bay Commission meeting, not a BCDC meeting. I wanted to know if that body was interested in the fact that a below-standard harbor was using the illegal status of its tenants to gouge them. They said they were not interested. Marciante had encouraged me to go to that meeting and was at my boat the following day pumping me for what I had said. Yes, I said too much, as it provided a perfect excuse for him to then send out the already-printed eviction notices with my name on his lips as the one to blame.

Pelican got their letter from the BCDC before I went to the RBRC meeting. Maricante had been getting letters for weeks from BCDC, and was grasping for some relief. I stupidly provided it by attending that RBRC meeting.

"Suspected" liveaboards were not the first evictions Marciante processed. Boats that didn¹t look so good were. Marciante had been filling liveaboard slips through this entire affair and continues to this day. He has put in no less than four boats, that I counted, in the last two and a half months. To my knowledge he has not processed any evictions of large vessels. He has encouraged people to leave for the last five months if they didn¹t like things. Many have and their spots were promptly filled by more liveaboards. After all, who wants to pay such high slip fees just to store their boat?

The supposition in your article that the management of Pelican Harbor and Peli-Wash are separate concerns is ludicrous. It is suspected that overseeing the management of the harbor has been under the hand of Dennis (Flynn) for the last couple of years, and everything that's gone on has been his doing. That they beat the drum about liveaboards to BCDC is probably the most accurate shot in the dark made in your article. For them to use the furor made by tenants to clear out the old residents and have it appear that other tenants are to blame makes it wonderfully painless for them. It also breaks up any coalition that the residents might have formed to assert their rights.

Of course, in the last six years that I have lived in Sausalito, it has become evident that if you live on your boat you don¹t exist. You can¹t get a U.S. Post Office Box, you can¹t get a city residential parking permit, and you can¹t go to any governmental agency for any redress of grievances for fear of collapsing everyone else¹s house of cards and being blamed.

Yes, living on your boat is great fun as long as you understand you are now in a shadow world, and you are not part of a larger group of like-minded people. Indeed, you are one of many scared, hiding, skulking lower class of folks who by their very nature will not band together and stand up for anything. At best they will flee to the sea in their escape pods to some other hidey hole.

Yes, I¹m sorry the management of Pelican Harbor allowed the situation to get so bad. They did not address any of the problems in an open manner, but used the illegality of their tenants positions to further their own agenda. They acted greedily and we all got caught.

Ray Morgan


Ray Sorry, but we didn't realize that there were two Ray Morgans with boats in Pelican Yacht Harbor. The one we referred to in our article came into our office on May 20th wanting to place an advertisement it was too late and proceded to explain to several of our staff what we reported in the Spring Storm article.

Frankly, we don't have the time or even the interest to ferret out the veracity of all the minor charges and countercharges. As for the major issues:

1) Like it or not, Peli-Wash is a separate legal entity from Pelican Yacht Harbor although we clearly noted in our article that there was a connection between the ownerships. In any event, if Peli-Wash indeed polluted the Bay and continued to pollute the Bay after the various government agencies had been alerted, it's our opinion that the blame lies squarely at the feet of those government agencies. It's their job to enforce compliance with permits and regulations. If Peli-Wash was in violation, they should have been cited and given slam, boom, bam the appropriate punishment.

2) We think you're naive if you think Pelican and the 'floating home' liveaboards weren't mutually using / benefitting each other. Pelican got good income in bad times for a marina that was past its prime, and totally illegal liveaboards on floating homes got a dirt cheap place to live in one of the country's most desirable and expensive locations. Sure, $15 a foot is high for berthing, but it's dirt cheap for housing in Sausalito.

Furthermore, if anybody living aboard a floating home in Pelican figured the situation was going to continue forever, they were doubly naive. When we lived aboard illegally, for example, we always knew it was on a day-to-day basis and we had a legitimate navigable boat. If the floating home people were "truly desperate" as you claim, they should have upgraded or traded their boats for a modest navigable vessel, which almost certainly would have allowed them to live aboard for the rest of their lives.

We don't know Tony Marciante, but he has our sympathy. Everybody thinks being a harbormaster is a piece of cake when, in fact, you're often caught between the conflicting wishes of the owners and tenants you've come to know and like. Maricante is in a thankless position for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is how in the heck is he supposed to know who is living aboard. In some cases, of course, it's obvious, but in others, it's not. Do you suggest he go around knocking on boats at 0300 and keep track of who is spending more than three nights a week aboard their boats?

As far as we're concerned, the ultimate blame for the entire liveaboard fiasco in the Bay Area belongs to the BCDC which, having grabbed authority over boats some 25 years ago, continues to demonstrate an appalling lack of vision and leadership.


"Let me tell, Cassius, you yourself are much condemned to have an itching palm." W. Shakespeare

"The point is that you can't be too greedy." Donald Trump.

"The love of money is the root of all evil." The New Testament.

Until last month, I had been a resident of Pelican Harbor in Sausalito for 10 years. I asked to be a legal liveaboard there in 1989, and received the okay from the owners and management. My rent bill reflected a charge for a liveaboard fee and I still have one of those bills to prove it. I was told by the harbormaster that I had gained acceptance into the harbor's '10% club'. At that time Pelican Harbor was a quiet little marina with a modest liveaboard community. Everyone knew everyone else, and we were all glad to lend a helping hand when needed. Everyone was concerned with pollution, and for the most part used the marina's toilets and showers even though the shower water frequently ran cold in the mornings.

Although there was little maintenance done and there was a parking problem, it was all tolerable under the circumstances. I enjoyed my slip at the end of the dock because of the birds, the fish, and the sea lions that occasionally pulled themselves onto the dock during a night of fishing. It was scenic, quiet, and peaceful. Those of us who lived in the harbor at that time felt secure and confident that we were among the 10% liveaboards permitted by BCDC for Pelican Harbor. Even though there were a fair number of empty slips available, the harbor owners refused to fill them with liveaboards, and for the most part they remained empty. And like most marinas at the time, Pelican Harbor was not what you would call a real money-maker. But it was a happy place.

All that began to change about five years ago when the Flynn family purchased Pelican Harbor, and soon after that hired Tony Marciante as harbormaster. Tony immediately repaired the showers and installed a double set of coin-operated washers and dryers. At first it appeared that Tony would be a benefit to the harbor, but after the immediate fixes and additions to the harbor, little but emergency maintenance followed.

What initially appeared to be a conciliatory gesture to the existing liveaboard community, soon became an obvious attempt to attract more liveaboards. And it wasn't long before the harbor was packed with liveaboards. In addition, every inch of dock had a boat attached to it, and the population of boats soon went well past the city of Sausalito's mandated maximum of 92 boats. Liveaboards were everywhere, and the harbor population went to well over 80% liveaboards.

Maricante had turned Pelican Harbor into a floating hotel. Lines sometimes formed for the toilets and showers, and people began to use their boat toilets and showers out of frustration. At times, I had to hold my nose when I walked past some of the liveaboard boats, as the sewage built up in the slips during the mornings on the slack tides. But the swift currents at Pelican Harbor soon carried it away to the other marinas.

Parking went from being difficult to being a nightmare. The harbor management seemed to promote an attitude that it was okay to pump the toilet overboard as long as you didn't get caught or attract the regulators. And those of us who had comprised that original 10% percent liveaboard community began comparing our conversations with Tony about the influx of liveaboards. It became apparent that he was promoting the harbor as a place for liveaboards, and his reply to our complaints was that it was his job to make the harbor more profitable. "If you complain to the regulators or the city," said Tony, "you'll be evicted."

Even though we were concerned about the bloated liveaboard community and the deceptive practice of rolling the fees associated with liveaboards into a single 'slip fee' line item on our rent slips, we did not want to be evicted. And so the liveaboard community at Pelican Harbor tolerated the crowding and pollution, and were frequently told to put up and shut up or move out.

Three years ago, one of the members of the Flynn family purchased a floating drydock and installed it in the two long slips at my end of the dock after evicting the liveaboard boats that were in those slips. They named it Peli-Wash. To most of us, it seemed like another attempt to squeeze more money out of the small amount of space at Pelican Harbor.

The press releases in the local newspapers by Baykeepers hailed Peli-Wash as a space-age, super-clean boat washing facility. It had been a success on freshwater lakes in the Midwest where bottom paints are not permitted. But the operation soon proved to be a catastrophe in saltwater because toxic paints are used to prevent mussels and sponges from growing on boat bottoms.

Peli-Wash had a built-in catch basin and a filtration device for separating the freshwater contaminants from the spray water which was supposed to be used over and over. But to the surprise of the drydock managers, the bottom paints and vegetation didn't filter out and the spray water couldn't be reused. And at the cost of $800 to $1200 a barrel of toxic waste, it was financially impossible to have it hauled away.

On top of that, after several weeks of trying to wash boats, it was quickly discovered that boat washing was not going to pay the bills. So Peli-Wash immediately began doing general boatyard work particularly grinding, sanding, sand blasting, and painting of boat bottoms. The wind blew the paint and fiberglass dust all over the boats in the marina, and 100 feet into the Bay. But like the pollution from the liveaboard community at Pelican, the swift currents quickly carried the debris away. At the end of each boat job, the crew at Peli-Wash simply sprayed the dust and debris off the dry dock into the Bay.

When the dust began to discolor the decks of the fiberglass boats in the harbor, the Peli-Wash crew initially went around and periodically washed the discolored boats. But later they just erected tennis court screens to keep the debris from blowing so far away. The wind still carried it under and over the screens and as usual at the end of each job they just sprayed it all off into the Bay anyway.

Many of the original residents of Pelican Harbor were astounded that the Flynns would place such an operation in the middle of the now dense liveaboard community. It was the ultimate in disrespect. Peli-Wash was also as noisy as a brake and muffler shop, had a high volume of foot traffic, and spread toxic dust into the water. When the wind was blowing from the east, some of us had to leave our boats to keep from getting sick from the solvents used in the paints.

Peli-Wash frequently operated seven days a week, and sometimes as late as 0100. And the operation cranked up the parking problem by a few more degrees. If we complained to the manager of Peli-Wash or the manager of the marina, we were told to shut up or move out. We were told that if we called the regulators we'd be labeled troublemakers and evicted.

Many people called anyway but wouldn't leave their names for fear of eviction. The regulators came to inspect Peli-Wash, but always announced it in advance. Once the U.S. Coast Guard chased massive paint spills, but couldn't pin it on Peli-Wash because the strong current made its source unclear.

Some of the long time residents moved out on their own, but were quickly replaced with new liveaboards. After many attempts to reason with both the manager of Peli-Wash and the marina, I began to take photographs of the illegal and unsafe practices at Peli-Wash. I was particularly upset that my boat had been turned into a very noisy toxic waste dump, and that the animals, birds, and fish I loved to see weren't coming near the end of my dock anymore.

After taking several hundred pictures of blatant disregard for the environment and the people of Pelican Harbor, I called the regulators and the U.S. Coast Guard to peddle the photos but found no one was interested if I wasn't willing to leave my name. Like everyone else, I didn't want to get evicted, and hoped that Peli-Wash would just go belly-up on its own. So I put the pictures in a drawer and tried not to think about it.

By this time, Tony Marciante had instituted a second increase in slip fees, meaning my slip rent had nearly doubled since the Flynns had taken over the harbor. Marciante said it was because of 'additional expenses'. This was a laugh, since the liveaboard community hadn't changed much and only a few repairs had been made to the harbor.

What was obvious, however, is that Peli-Wash was not metered for water, electricity, garbage, parking and probably slip fees. Peli-Wash quite obviously used as much of the resources in Pelican Harbor as the entire liveaboard community. Some of us felt that we were picking up the tab for Peli-Wash as well as eating its dust.

Additionally, Marciante told me over 18 months ago that the harbor was going to evict my end of the marina to make room for an upgrade of the docks. Over that time, I watched as he segregated the better-looking liveaboard boats to the other side of the harbor and the poorer looking ones to my side. During that 18 months, some new liveaboards were allowed into the harbor with non-operational boats but were not told they were going have to go after a number of months.

I knew that I was on his eviction list for complaining about his harbor-packing and Peli-Wash. Many of us felt that we were paying for future capital improvements to the harbor that we were not going to be able to enjoy. As a result, many of us thought Marciante and Pelican Harbor had lost all credibility.

On a cold day in January of this year, a member of the Sausalito Planning Department walked down the Pelican docks to ask residents if they had any reasons why they thought that Peli-Wash should not have its business license renewed to "wash boats". Some said that Peli-Wash did not wash boats for a living, but was an operational boatyard. But none would give their names.

When a friend told me abut this, I called the Planning Department and offered my opinion. I learned that they knew there were many complaints about Peli-Wash's operation, but they couldn't get any pictures to prove it. I gave them the pictures and my name to back it up. A few days later, after the city had contacted Peli-Wash about the pictures, Mark Fitzgerald, the current Peli-Wash manager and Marciante began directing a furious tirade of harassment at me.

When the regulators including BCDC came to visit Peli-Wash, an angry Mark Fitzgerald was overheard telling the BCDC that if Peli-Wash was going to be forced to live by the rules, then the BCDC would have to kick all the liveaboards out of Pelican Harbor. Until that point BCDC was avoiding the issue of liveaboards at Pelican Harbor.

Tony and Mark began going to all the people in the harbor telling them that I brought the regulators in, and if they got evicted, it was my fault. The harassment got so extreme that I was forced to call the police to get them to leave me alone. They were obviously trying to intimidate the remaining members of the harbor into keeping quite about the real problems of packing in liveaboards and polluting the environment. Problems that were created and promoted by Marciante and Fitzgerald.

I won't waste anybody's time countering the many blatantly false and misleading accusations made by Fitzgerald and Marciante against me, but simply say it's all smoke meant to cover their own irresponsible acts of exploiting the environment and the liveaboards at Pelican Harbor. If you believe them, I'm sure they'll be happy to sell you a bridge somewhere.

Even though BCDC has told Tony Marciante to move the liveaboards out of Pelican, not many have actually received eviction notices just the ones with less attractive boats and, of course, myself. And those people who did move out were immediately replaced by new liveaboards. According to the June article in Latitude, Marciante seemed to indicate that he intends to play 'hide-and-seek' with BCDC over the liveaboard problem. There is just too much money to be made from liveaboards for Pelican to give them up so easily. Anyone who lives in Pelican is probably safe until Marciante discovers that you have spoken out or talked to one of the regulators.

The packing of Pelican Harbor with liveaboards lays to waste one of the myths perpetuated by many of the Bay Area marinas: that they don't want liveaboards. I submit that this is simply flag-waving to keep BCDC from placing them under the spotlight. In the marina business, liveaboards can obviously bring in big dividends as Pelican Harbor has proven. In the areas outside of BCDC's jurisdiction, liveaboards are welcomed with open arms and hefty fees. The Bay Area is the only place where I have found that liveaboards are actually illegal.

Many others agree with me that it is our constitutional right to live on our boats, but none of us have the resources to turn around a law that keeps us living like refugees in our own country. When I talk with the detractors of liveaboards about regaining the acceptance of living on boats in the Bay Area, their concerns are always the same: They don't want to look at unkempt boats, they don't want mariners to discharge sewage and gray water into the Bay, and they don't want the Bay being contaminated with toxic bottom paints. If we are to regain our right to live on our boats, then we liveaboards are going to have to take the responsibility for keeping our boats presentable, for installing holding tanks and using the portable pumpout services, and for patronizing responsible boatyards that at least put the bottom paint dust and debris in the garbage.

Charles Nash


Charles Perhaps the biggest drawback with your version of events is that it's pretty much based on your status as an environmentalist. But when we asked around Pelican Harbor, the consensus of opinion seemed to be that you tended to be more garrulous than green. And there would seem to be some evidence to support that opinion.

You claim, for example, to have observed, recorded and been harmed by Peli-Wash's operation for something like three years three years! before you were willing to sign your name to an accusation or do anything about it that would jeopardize the slip for your floating home. That sounds more like collaboration than commitment to the environment. And then there's the whopper, having supposedly watched this dreaded operation drive away all the wildlife and sealife, you recently accepted a sweetheart deal with Peli-Wash to have your boat hauled there. That's not just sleeping with the enemy, Charles, it's enjoying the sex, too! And with it goes much of your environmentalist credibility.

Our take on the situation is this: Peli-Wash was a dumb idea going in. That the BCDC, Bay Keeper, and City of Sausalito could all sign off on it doesn't say much for any of them. As for liveaboards on non-navigable vessels such as yourself thinking you've been wronged, you had to know all along that you just weren't illegal, but ultra illegal because while the BCDC will sometimes allow a certain percentage of liveaboards on navigable boats, they absolutely don't allow any new liveaboards on floating homes. Bottom line: You and Pelican had an arrangement not unlike a number of similar arrangements we suspect exist at other Bay Area marinas: The marina runs the risk of getting fined $1,000 a day by the BCDC, but fills their marina and perhaps charges a little extra for the risk. In return for paying a little extra and keeping your mouth shut, you get a place for your ultra illegal liveaboard boat until somebody or something causes the arrangement to fall apart.

By the way, while we often disagree with the BCDC, we concur with their position that the Bay shouldn't be used for 'floating homes' as opposed to liveaboards on navigable vessels except for the ones that have already been grandfathered.

Despite all the arguments presented by you and Ray Morgan, we continue to believe that you shot yourself and other liveaboards in the foot.


The politicians in Sacramento who cancelled the Mervyn's California Gold Rush Race must be related to politicians here in Hawaii. Not only did the officials at the Tourism Office decline to support the Aloha America¹s Cup effort but they bad-mouthed it while turning them down.

Bob Heidrich, Commodore

Hawaii Yacht Club


Just a few lines to 1) Thank you for continuing to publish the best sailing rag around, and 2) Let you know that we sold our Nauticat 43 Tally Ho through a display ad in Latitude. She's the second six-figure cruising boat I've sold through your pages. Her new home is Oyster Point in the Bay.

Our Oyster 485 Ti Amo has crossed the pond from England to Florida and will be making her way west towards her Newport Beach home port over the next couple of months. Linda talks Baja Ha-Ha '99, while I'm thinking Pacific Cup 2000. So we'll have to toss a coin to see which it will be.

While in Fort Lauderdale last month we met a chap who said he was the former owner of Big O. Small world!

Carl Mischka

Ti Amo

Newport Beach

Carl Thanks for the kind words and best of luck with your new Oyster.

Former owner of Big O? We gave her that name when we bought her in the Caribbean 12 years ago. Maybe the guy owned her when she was Oceanaire. Nonetheless, it is a very small world and we hope to see you and your boat in it.

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